Revised Lough apartment plans ‘fail to address concerns of the community’

Revised Lough apartment plans ‘fail to address concerns of the community’
A computer-generated view of how The Lough apartments will look.

REVISED plans for high-rise student apartments overlooking the Lough have failed to address the concerns of the community, according to a local councillor.

Lyonshall Developments has proposed to construct 49 student apartments with some 350 beds on Bandon Road, prompting huge outcry from locals, who say the very future of their community is at stake.

The development is proposed for the O'Riordan's Joinery site on Bandon Road and includes a portion of land previously owned by the Church of the Immaculate Conception at the Lough.

City Hall planners sought additional information on the development, which was submitted last week. Residents have until this Friday, October 27 to inspect and respond.

Independent councillor Mick Finn said the revisions represent minor changes to the overall plans and, simply, do not go far enough to satisfy the concerns raised by the community.

"We are talking about the death and demise of traditional residential areas and communities in the Lough area in the context of an ever-expanding university area: it's both a planning and a social battle," he said.

"There are minor changes to the 'massing' scale of the apartment blocks and a marginal decrease from 350 to 324-bed spaces, but I still do not support a project such as this in the midst of a mature residential area."

The changes are mostly cosmetic, Mr Finn added.

"Most of the basis for objection are still there," he said.

"Issues of visual impact and material damage to one of Cork's most iconic recreational sites at the Lough still prevail and I am seeking the planners to refuse permission."

Some 200 parishioners took place in a march around the Lough in protest of the development in May, claiming it would have a detrimental impact on the area.

Mr Finn said that student accommodation developments are necessary but that they cannot be at the expense of young families and communities.

"Suggestions that student accommodation units will free up houses in the area families to take are rubbish. All you have to do is look at the exodus over time of residents in areas near the college for proof of this," he said.

Cork City Council recently started a process to develop a strategy for student accommodation amid growing needs in the city. Mr Finn said that proper sites must be chosen.

"I'm not saying they have to be in isolated areas away from civilisation," he said.

"Yes, they must be near third level campuses but they absolutely must not be plonked into areas which are already losing their identity as a living city community. Build these student blocks in well-planned locations that can take them. Why can't we have the best of both worlds?"

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